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Lithuania

Monitoring and Evlauation for Public Participation (LT0028)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Lithuania Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Office of the Government

Support Institution(s): Office of the Government (monitoring institution), state and municipal institutions and agencies, The plans are to consult experts from civil society and public governance, academic community.

Policy Areas

Public Participation, Social Accountability

IRM Review

IRM Report: Lithuania Transitional Results Report 2018-2020, Lithuania Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

5. Carry out consistent monitoring and evaluation of public participation in governance
1 September 2018 – 1 September 2019
Lead implementing agency Office of the Government
Commitment description
Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment Lithuanian and international surveys show that the Lithuanian society is civically disengaged and it practically makes little use of its rights and opportunities to participate in solving the public matters of the country or to engage in civic activities of public importance. National institutions have implemented a number of initiatives to promote public participation and involvement in public decision-making processes, but public involvement is low, so is the participation culture, there is no methodological approach-based public participation monitoring strategy allowing to assess the current state of co-operation between the public sector and society, to see the development trends and the factors influencing the quality of this process - the engagement of participants, achievement of results, etc.
Problem solution/Commitment Developing methodology for monitoring civic participation in public governance processes, which would serve as a basis for the evaluation of the factual situation as regards civic participation in public governance processes, and provide for facilitated civic engagement in decision making.
Main objective Based on the above methodology, to evaluate the factual situation as regards civic participation in public governance processes and to provide for facilitated civic engagement in decision making.
How will the commitment contribute to solve the public problem? With the methodological basis at hand, it will be possible to gather information and evaluate the public involvement through specific tools for participation in decision-making, to monitor the changes in participation and to seek solutions and tools to encourage greater public participation.
Action and its description Expected concrete result Start date: End date:
1. Methodology designed Methodological document, 1 pcs 01/09/2018 31/12/2018
2. Trial monitoring completed Trial monitoring report, 1 pcs. 02/01/2019 01/07/2019
3. Recommendations drawn up Set of recommendations, 1 pcs 01/07/2019 01/09/2019
How is the commitment relevant to the values of transparency, accountability and civic participation? The commitment is relevant to the value of accountability, as it creates a mechanism aimed at: the evaluation of the effectiveness of public participation measures developed by institutions; it also meets the value of public involvement in decision making (participation), as the methodology will serve the basis for the implementation of the measures encouraging public participation.
Additional information ● The implementation of the commitment is financed from the project ‘Open Government initiatives’ carried out by the Office of the Government.
● The commitment is part of the Plan for the implementation of the Programme of the 17th Government.
Contact information
Lead implementing agency Office of the Government
Name, title, department of the responsible person, email and telephone number. Gitana Vaškelienė,
Head of Personal Service Unit,
email: gitana.vaskeliene@lrv.lt, tel.: 8 706 63 976Other ministries, departments/agencies involved Office of the Government (monitoring institution), state and municipal institutions and agencies
What civil society organisations, private sector representatives or other stakeholders are you planning to involve in the implementation of the commitment? Do you plan to conduct a public consultation during the implementation of the commitment? The plans are to consult experts from civil society and public governance, academic community.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

5. Carry out consistent monitoring and evaluation of public participation in governance

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

Lithuanian and international surveys show that the Lithuanian society is civically disengaged, and it practically makes little use of its rights and opportunities to participate in solving the public matters of the country or to engage in civic activities of public importance. National institutions have implemented a number of initiatives to promote public participation and involvement in public decision-making processes, but public involvement is low, so is the participation culture, there is no methodological approach-based public participation monitoring strategy allowing to assess the current state of co- operation between the public sector and society, to see the development trends and the factors influencing the quality of this process - the engagement of participants, achievement of results, etc. [30]

Milestones:

5.1. Methodology designed

5.2. Trial monitoring completed

5.3. Recommendations drawn up

Start Date: 1 September 2018

End Date: 1 September 2019

Context and Objectives

As the text of this commitment recognizes, the Lithuanian public rarely participates in decision making. According to the Ministry of Interior, 58 percent of residents know that such possibilities exist but they rarely use them. [31] In addition, only 8 percent of the population said in 2019 they would like to participate in anti-corruption activities—fewer than the 12 percent who said so in 2016 or the 15 percent in 2011. [32]

To address this downward trend of civic participation, the Office of the Government seeks to develop a special motoring system to trace the level of civic participation and measure the effectiveness of public consultations. The Office already created a methodology for public consultations during the 2016–2018 OGP cycle and tested it in seven institutions. However, that implementation lacked completion of the last milestone—this commitment’s monitoring system to assess the efficiency of the methodology.

The overall commitment is verifiable and measurable, but the milestones are too abstract. For instance, the Office of the Government plans to test the methodology until July 2019, but the scope of testing remains unclear based the commitment text (although the Office of the Government has clarified that this scope will be described in the methodology itself). This commitment also lacks steps to ensure that the public sector acts upon recommendations provided by the Office of the Government.

Next steps

This commitment aims to have measurable and sustainable public consultations in Lithuania. The commitment will complete the first step toward a more ambitious future commitment. Thus, the IRM researcher recommends extending monitoring plans for longer than the current action plan. Changes in citizens’ behaviors do not happen within a couple of years, so it is highly recommended to keep investing in public consultations and systematically monitoring their development. Also, the IRM researcher advises the government first to test the monitoring system on a smaller scope of institutions and amend it if necessary. This could help the Office of the Government develop a high-quality product to be launched on a national stage as part of a future, more potentially impactful commitment with mechanisms to incentivize compliance.

[30] Full commitment text available at https://bit.ly/2HPWuXo. [31] “Participation of Citizens When Making Decision on Local Level,” representative survey, Ministry of Interior, 2016. [32] “Lithuanian Map of Corruption,” Special Investigative Service, 2018, https://www.stt.lt/lt/naujienos/?cat=1&nid=2961.    

IRM End of Term Status Summary

5. Consistently monitor and evaluate public participation in governance

Completion: Complete

The Office of the Government prepared a methodology to evaluate the effectiveness of public consultations and assessed 161 public sector institutions in how they carry out their consultations. [38] Afterwards, the Office of the Government provided recommendations on how to improve the methodology.

After assessing the state of public consultations, the Office of the Government found that the number of civic engagement activities were increasing in 2019 and that 32 percent of them ended in proposing specific legal acts. [39] However, qualitative interviews showed that public officials continue to have different understandings of how to carry out consultations in an inclusive and open way. [40]

Although an important first step in improving the quality of consultations, the methodology was not designed to be used by public institutions themselves independent of the Office of the Government, which applied it in partnership with a hired supplier. [41] The methodology is not meant for self-assessing and does not include detailed methodological guidance that would enable any institution to evaluate its own performance. Rather, it is meant to be applied by a third party, in this case - the Office of the Government.

[38] The performance report, the Office of the Government, email to IRM researcher, 20 July 2020.
[39] Ibid.
[40] Erika Kasiliunaite, the Office of the Government, emails to IRM researcher, 13 July - 20 August 2020.
[41] Gitana Vaskeliene, Erika Kasiliunaite, Dalia Milkeviciene, the Office of the Government, interview by IRM researcher, 19 August 2020.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership